England are through to the last 16 of Euro 2024 BEFORE their final group game against Slovenia... thanks to a little help from Spain.

Gareth Southgate's men have come in for some criticism after their performance against Denmark last week - with skipper Harry Kane coming out fighting in response - but with a game to spare the Three Lions, who top Group C ahead of Tuesday night's match with four points from two games, place in the knockout rounds is assured.

That's because in Group B, Albania's failure in Dusseldorf to beat a much-changed Spain side - La Roja made 10 changes after back-to-back wins over Croatia and Italy - means even if worst comes to worst for England on Tuesday, they can't fall below third in their group.

And if they do indeed fall to third - it'd need them to lose to Slovenia and Denmark to beat Serbia too - then the Three Lions would still be among the four best third place teams in the tournament, due to having picked up four points already.

That's more than both third place in Group A (Hungary) and third in Group B (Croatia) have been able to manage, with those groups now both done.

Despite head coach Luis de la Fuente making 10 changes to the team that beat Italy, La Roja were too strong for Sylvinho’s men in Dusseldorf. Albania needed victory to take them through but had lost all eight of their previous meetings with Spain, and from the moment Ferran Torres opened the scoring in the 13th minute - with his 20th goal in 44 games for his country - they never looked like turning things around.

Olmo should have scored himself after being picked out eight yards from goal by captain Jesus Navas - now 38 and captaining his country - but his touch let him down, while Torres planted a header over the bar after being picked out by the excellent Alex Grimaldo.

Albania's only real chance came just after the hour mark, a quick freekick catching out a Spain defence, but Armando Broja's attempted lob was beaten behind by David Raya. And while they pushed late on - backed vociferously throughout by their supporters in the Dusseldorf Arena - they couldn't get a goal, never mind the two they needed.

They head home. Spain head to the knockout stages where England will also venture.

The question for Southgate's side is whether they'll be going as group winners, runners up or one of the third place sides.

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2024-06-24T21:09:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd